The sun is coming out, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer – summer is officially here! For many, spring and summer are ideal times to focus on fitness goals, whether it’s working more stretches into your day, committing to moving your body more often, running a marathon or reaching a mileage goal on your bike.
Even if gyms and facilities are closed, summer is a great time to jumpstart an active routine to restore your body and mind.
The importance of physical activity during (and after) a pandemic
Staying at home for long periods of time can make it hard to keep up with physical activity. With many people working from home, there’s no more morning and evening commute, making it really easy to become sedentary. Even if you’re still going to work, your fitness routine may have been disrupted by your gym or fitness center shutting down during the pandemic.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle with low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on your health, well-being and quality of life. Even worse, the effects of self-quarantine can also affect your mental health. Frequent physical activity can really boost your mental and physical health during this time.
The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. You can still hit these recommendations at home – with no special equipment and with limited space.
Tips for staying active when you can’t go to a gym
1. Make the most of your flexible schedule
If you’re working from home, try to sneak in physical breaks throughout your day. Book ten-minute slots between meetings to stretch. Frequent stretching keeps a proper blood and nutrient supply to the working muscles and tissues throughout the workday and prevents fatigue and discomfort. Start a new Health Program that incorporates daily stretching into your workday.
2. Work movement into everything you do
Gardening, housework, or taking out the dog can all become part of your physical routine. Do household chores like vacuuming, scrubbing and sweeping at a brisk pace to get your heart rate up.
3. Take your calls outside
If you have frequent phone meetings, consider taking them while moving around the neighbourhood. The fresh air will help bring your focus back. Just make sure you’re in a familiar space and aware of your surroundings!
4. Stand up
If this is an activity that’s available to you, try to do it as often as possible – aim to interrupt sitting and reclining time every 30 minutes. You may even consider setting up a standing desk by using a high table or stacking a pile of books or other materials to continue working while standing.
5. Improvise with what you have at home
If you’re missing the weights and equipment at the gym, don’t worry! There are lots you can use around the house as substitutes: toss some cans into a bag and it becomes a weight, or take advantage of bodyweight exercises you can do without any equipment at all.
6. Try something new
If gyms are closed, it might be a good time to try something outdoors. If running is an activity that’s available to you and you’ve never done it outside, our Walk to Run Health Program can help get you there in 30 days.